Well, another match unbeaten, another useful point gained and a tiny step closer to Premiership safety. Not too shabby.
Although we didn’t win the game, the roar that greeted the full time whistle demonstrated perfectly, just how important this result was to our survival cause. We’ve now gone unbeaten this season against Everton, Spurs and Villa, which is a superb achievement, given the quality of those sides.
I thought it might be our day, particularly when the news filtered through that Mikel Arteta wasn’t playing. Everton have some outstanding players, but the Spanish midfielder is just that little bit classier and has the ability to unlock a defence in the blink of an eye. In fact, had he played, I’m almost certain the final scoreline would have been different.
Still, Wolves were made to work hard for this point and front to back, everyone put in a shift, to use a McCarthyism.
The back four were very good.
Jody Craddock won practically everything. Berra was shaky to begin with, but grew in confidence as the game progressed. Big George Elokobi gave his all and even delivered a couple of teasing balls into the Everton box on the rare occasion he ventured forward. I think he’s successfully wrestled that left-back slot away from Stephen Ward, at least in the short term.
Zubar was probably the best of the lot though, using his power and pace to defend flawlessly and bomb forward when the opportunity presented himself. Our two brightest moments in the game came when the Frenchman exchanged clever passes and surged into the Everton box, only to come up agonisingly short with his final ball. His improvement has been a big factor in our recent upturn in form.
In midfield, Henry and Mancienne were neat and tidy, constantly grappling for the ball and winning enough mini-battles to ensure Everton couldn’t break us down. Jones wasn’t as effective as he has been in recent matches, but still got into some good positions. His second half booking for taking a quick free kick was ridiculous, particularly when identical situations involving players in blue shirts went unpunished.
Doyle was good, but not quite up to the usual high standards he sets. He looked a little jaded to me, so it’s just as well he’s got a full week until we next play. The rest will probably do him good.
All in all though, pretty good stuff from the boys in old gold. We’ve definitely built up some momentum, so you could look at it as a shame that we have to visit the Emirates next Saturday, where defeat is a very strong possibility. However, as we are in such good shape and as Arsenal have the small matter of a Champions League tie against Barcelona in the back of their minds, what better chance will we have to cause a massive upset and in doing so, enjoy our greatest day yet?
You never know.
What the Papers Say
Mick McCarthy is ever the realist. He has seen his Wolves team – for so long struggling in intensive care – emerge with a run of eight points from four matches. But he knows they are still a long way from Premier League safety.
According to the thoughts of Mick McCarthy, every point is a prisoner at this level and his Wolverhampton Wanderers team managed to intern another one at Molineux yesterday in their efforts to avoid relegation. Quite how they captured this particular one, their eighth in four games, may remain a mystery to Everton.